Punknoodle's ST185

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Re: Punknoodle's Aus-Spec ST185

Postby Punknoodle » Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:49 pm

Well, it's been a long time since I updated this thread, sorry!

I haven't been able to give the car much attention, bought a house and got married and, well, we all know that story!

Anyway, a little while ago I did a track day with the car and it was pretty bad. I had bad overheating, causing the engine to keep going in to limp mode. I didn't even get one good lap in.

I took the car home and fitted a Group A bumper and moved the heat exchanger, with the aim of improving airflow to the radiator.

This did make an improvement, and I took it to another track day and this time it was much better, the temps were OK initially and I was able to do some pretty decent laps on both Clubman and Sprint layouts.

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Temps however, were on the rise so I knew there was more work to be done to enable me to do a full time attack session and not worry about overheating the car.

I've sourced a replacement reconditioned head as it had a little crack and I'm currently in the process of fitting that, with a Cometic Mls 0.051" gasket. Also fitting a Gen III sump and pump, removing the factory oil cooler and installing a larger air oil cooler with a Greddy thermostatic valve.

I've also cut the blades off the water pump impeller, gutted the thermostat and modified the coolant hard lines (basically blocked off the bypass) and will be installing a Davies Craig EWP. At the same time will be making a new coolant neck and a swirl coolant header tank.

Hopefully this coupled with some ducting in the bumper will help on track temps significantly. Still need to fit bigger brakes but that'll come next.

My priorities with the car now are to pretty much make it as reliable as I can for track days as that will be my main use for the car. Here is a quick vid of my last track day:

https://youtu.be/oVQz7qnMgus
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby CSAlltrac » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:21 am

Good to see a post from you sir. That track layout looks like a blast.
Last edited by CSAlltrac on Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby Punknoodle » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:17 am

It's ok, yeah, but it could do with some elevation and camber changes. Once I get the car running again I'll probably do a bit of a test at QR again because I can compare directly to my previous runs but I after that I really want to take it to Lakeside, which is an awesome little track.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby Punknoodle » Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:22 am

OK, got the replacement head on with a new Cometic MLS gasket, gen 3 sump, new gen 3 oil pump, deleted the factory oil cooler and modified the hardlines to suit the EWP. In fact, the coolant hard line now only feeds the turbo, everything else deleted. Will be plumbing the return for the turbo water line straight in to the new water neck which will feed the swirl/header tank. Also tidied up the hard lines on the back of the intake manifold, deleting redundant pipes. Pulled apart the factory water pump and cut off all of the blades, which effectively means now it won't pump and water pushed from the EWP will simply pass through it.

Greddy thermostatic oil adapter now sits in place of the factory oil cooler, with a blanking cover on it as the filter now resides on the sump. Have dummied up the new oil cooler where it will sit, it's a bit of a monster! Will mount it securely tomorrow. AN-10 lines will run to the cooler, with their lengths kept as short as possible.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby Punknoodle » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:02 pm

Brilliant day today! Had the day off, it was sunny, home alone, just chilling in my garage with door up, The Rock (NZ radio station) streaming through my phone and Bluetooth speaker and getting stuff done on the car.

Lots of progress.

Firstly, I made off the hoses to connect the oil cooler to the adapter. It was a bit of a pain getting them just the right length but quite satisfying. They look rad when they are made.
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I had to clearance the hole a little bit to get the hoses to sit nicely.
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Then after cleaning out the hoses by running water through them then blowing them out with compressed air I fitted them up on to the car.
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After that I thought I would reinstall the lines on to the turbo and then mount it back up. So I did.
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And here are some close ups of the new bracket and also how the oil hard line lines up.
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Still a fair bit of room to mount the electric water pump.
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That might be it for the day I think. Still waiting on a new timing belt, have to fit the cam seals, pulleys etc. That's the next job. Oil pan can go on too, just waiting on someone to weld on the boss for the oil temp sensor on to it first, then repaint.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby Punknoodle » Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:47 am

Some random photos of the water pump, swirl tank and engine bay.
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It's all tuned now, made 182awkW. Need to do a track day to check that the new cooling systems have helped with temperature, although initial testing on the road seems promising.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby CMS-GT4 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:38 pm

Is that an off the shelf or purpose built swirl tank? I had considered adding one to my system. I have seen pics of the TTE wata swirl pot, but none for the engine cooling.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby Punknoodle » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:14 am

No mate I designed it to fit in the space and where I wanted the outlets and had it fabricated along with the new neck and water pipes.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby MWP » Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:06 am

Its all looking great :)

At the moment you will probably have some air building up in the top of the radiator as there is no where for it to go unless you open the cap now and then.
You can fix this by removing the inner seal from the radiator cap and run its overflow hose to the top of the swirl tank.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby CMS-GT4 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:35 pm

Looks great. I want to look into something along those lines when I get a chance. I currently get about 185-195F when doing autox. I think my temp switch for the fans is messed up, so I actually get more cooling issues when the car is sitting. Going to try and sort that out this winter.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby Punknoodle » Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:53 pm

MWP wrote:Its all looking great :)

At the moment you will probably have some air building up in the top of the radiator as there is no where for it to go unless you open the cap now and then.
You can fix this by removing the inner seal from the radiator cap and run its overflow hose to the top of the swirl tank.


Good pick up. I actually thought of this too when I was bleeding it, I had to remove that cap to bleed the radiator, however I've checked it a couple of time since by removing that cap but leaving the one on the header and the level is at the cap, so doesn't look to be a big issue apart from initial bleeding. In saying that, next time I have the system empty I'll get a nipple added to the swirl tank and run a bleed line from the radiator, simply so I don't need to remove that cap when bleeding.

CMS-GT4 wrote:Looks great. I want to look into something along those lines when I get a chance. I currently get about 185-195F when doing autox. I think my temp switch for the fans is messed up, so I actually get more cooling issues when the car is sitting. Going to try and sort that out this winter.


90°C is pretty normal I'd say, I haven't done a track day with this yet to get some proper data but I took it for a bit of a drive through the hills the other evening. When giving it some the temp stayed in the 87°C range, but when I caught up on traffic and was forced to sit at 45 kph my temp shot up to 94°C, that's with fan operating. As soon as I was able to get some air over the rad again it stayed in the 77-87 degree range.

Indeed, in traffic is where it gets warm. On the day I picked it up it was a really hot day(37°C) and in traffic the fan was coming on and off as usual, it sat in the high 80s, low 90s. These engines seem to run pretty warm. . I might invest in a SPAL fan, I think it will help get some air through the radiator at low speeds.

The swirl by itself won't make the radiator more efficient unfortunately. My radiator is a PWR item. I think the biggest difference is my lower duct to get more air going through the rad, I might need to add even more ducting yet.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby MWP » Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:46 pm

Punknoodle wrote:Good pick up. I actually thought of this too when I was bleeding it, I had to remove that cap to bleed the radiator, however I've checked it a couple of time since by removing that cap but leaving the one on the header and the level is at the cap, so doesn't look to be a big issue apart from initial bleeding. In saying that, next time I have the system empty I'll get a nipple added to the swirl tank and run a bleed line from the radiator, simply so I don't need to remove that cap when bleeding.


I would be interesting to see how much, if any, air does collect at the top of the rad after a decent hot day at the track.
If there isnt much, you know the swirl pot is doing its job well :)
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby aus jd 2703 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:01 pm

vote you add a bleed line to the top of the swirl pot from the rad cap.
shouldnt be much air with an ewp but
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby Punknoodle » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:49 pm

Small update regarding the bleeding of the top of the radiator. I haven't been able to do a track day yet, however I took it for a long drive the other day, lots of stop start traffic and the ambient temp was around 40 degrees Celsius. Temps did creep up in to the low 90s, and also taken the car for a bit of a spirited drive on one of the local mountain roads. Both times I've taken the cap off the rad once it had cooled to check the level, and it's sitting right at the cap. So currently, I have no concerns regarding the bleeding of the rad, but I will still go ahead with a bleed line next time I have the system apart, just to be on the safe side.
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Re: Punknoodle's ST185

Postby Punknoodle » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:13 am

Hi again!

So, I did a track day in the GT-Four again to do some testing. Didn't go so well.

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Long story short, was struggling to get the car running ok all day, it was running like a bag of wet farts, going in to limp mode. Found an issue with the fuel pressure, was able to bump it back up, but I suspect a problem with the fuel pump so I called it a day. The engine didn't feel strong, the intake temps were high (it was a hot day) and the track was damp (also patchy rain).

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Got it home, left it for the night, then looked at it the next day.

Found oil on the front of the engine, below the head gasket. Cleaned it up, started the engine, there is oil seeping out of the head gasket. No oil in the coolant, no coolant in the oil. Brand new Cometic HG. So I check the head studs and they were loose. Re-torqued. Leak gone. I suspect this was a big contributor to the car feeling like crap. I had torqued these in the right sequence, in equal steps, with the right lubricant, to the correct torque value (ARP head stud value) but hadn't retorqued after a heat cycle (ARP says this isn't necessary). Hopefully that sorts it.

Anyway, also decided I would sort my intake temps and lose the water to air charge cooler and instead run a FMIC. So, I got to work removing the old setup, and began to clock my turbo.

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I'm going to get an angle welded on to the outlet of the compressor, pointing out where the arrow is. This will allow for easier pipework.

So then I had to come up with a bracket for the wastegate actuator.

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That's what I came up with. The water pipes bolt to it as well so everything is nice and secure. I've tested the actuation with some compressed air and there is no flex in the design and it operates smoothly and freely.

Anyway, while I was working on that I discovered that the manifold had a crack in it, but thanks to a mate with a spare I've now got a replacement.

I'm on a bit of a spending hiatus at the moment, I have some higher priorities at the moment, but my time is free so I decided to get stuck in to prepare the car for it's next phase.

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I've stripped out the sound deadening in the cabin, in preparation for the half cage installation. I still need to clean the remaining residue off but it's getting there.

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That's all that came out of it, around 8kgs.

My plan at the moment:

- Drop the fuel tank, replace the Walbro 255 with a Walbro 460. Replace the lines back there to E85 compliant items at the same time. Run all new fuel pump circuit, relay and fuse for this to rule out any wiring issue that would have caused the pressure drop. It's an important circuit so I'd rather just make a new circuit than rely on the 27 year old loom.
- Design a new battery bracket and weld to floor.
- Get half cage welded in.
- Paint entire floor, rear strut towers etc and roll cage gun metal grey. Was going to retain the side plastics at the back, but obviously no rear seats. If the paint looks nice I won't put the carpet in, either.
- Fit turbo back up with new outlet.
- Front mount intercooler, plumb + ducting in the front.
- Source a spare ST184 bonnet and make a radiator exhaust vent and possibly ducting. (I'd love a group A bonnet, even Carbon, but it's not in the budget yet)

That's my current list. I didn't have any air in the coolant system at all, even after letting it get quite hot, so I'm confident of my swirl design. The question is now whether or not the radiator is up to the task or if it needs a larger one. I have good hopes with the proper ducting, I think my problems at the last track day were mainly due to stupid hot weather, high intake temps from the water to air cooler and loose head studs.

That's all for now.
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